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Hit Me was a pricing game on the American television game show The Price Is Right. Played from November 7, 1980 through October 13, 2006, this blackjack-based game was played for a prize worth at least $2,500 and used grocery items.

GameplayEdit

Six grocery items were shown, each concealing a standard playing card. A price was also displayed with each item, which represented the actual price of the item multiplied by the value of the concealed card - face cards were worth ten, and aces worth one (showing the actual price). Note that, as in blackjack, an Ace is worth either one or eleven in a player's hand - whichever is most beneficial to the player.

The contestant would cut a deck of playing cards, and a hand would be drawn for the "house" - the hand against which the contestant would play. The house received a standard blackjack hand consisting of a face-up "up" card, and a face-down "hole" card, both placed on a game board.

The contestant was then asked to select a grocery item. The actual price was revealed and the playing card was placed in the contestant's hand on the board. The process was repeated for a second item. The contestant could then stand, or continue to select grocery items if they wanted. If the contestant's hand totaled 21, they automatically won; if they exceeded 21, they busted and automatically lost; otherwise, the game continued.

Once the contestant's hand was complete, the house's hole card was revealed. The house would then draw additional cards if needed until its hand was 17 or above. If the house went over 21, it busted and the contestant automatically won. Otherwise, the contestant's hand was compared to the house's, with the larger total winning and ties going to the contestant.

The rules for dealing with a house "soft" 17-21, in which an Ace treated as an eleven forms a value which the house would stand on, were never particularly clear. Sometimes, host Bob Barker treated the Ace as a one and continued drawing. Other times, he treated the Ace as a hard 11 and stood. There was no apparent pattern to this behavior, although it seemed to hinge on his current mood.

StrategyEdit

The Hit Me board always contained one item that was marked at its actual price and one whose price was multiplied by 10. The ideal outcome would be for the contestant to choose these two items to get an ace and either a ten or face card. The contestant would then have a "blackjack" and would automatically win.

The rules of multiplication could be used to aid the contestant in determining their choices. For example, a price multiplied by ten would have to end in a zero; there was sometimes only one price displayed with a last digit of zero, ensuring that product was multiplied by ten. Conversely, a price which could not mathematically be a multiple of two to ten had to be the actual price. For example, an inexpensive price which was plainly a prime number would have to be the actual price. Outside of the always available Ace and ten, the other four cards were often (but not always) two pairs of numbers which each added up to 10.

HistoryEdit

Hit Me was created by former Goodson-Todman staffer Andy Felsher. [1]

The debut of Hit Me - and the entire week it falls in - was actually taped after the second through fifth playings; the first taped playing aired on November 13, and several times during the episode, Barker half-erroneously implied that it had never been played before.

Hit Me was originally played with no face cards; they were added to the game on February 4, 1981.

RetirementEdit

Hit Me was retired because its rules were beginning to confuse too many contestants, especially to those who were unfamiliar with the concept of blackjack. Having been played for nearly 26 years, it is by far the second longest-lived pricing game ever to be retired, behind only Poker Game.

Hit Me was the final retired pricing game to be taken out of the active rotation during Barker's tenure as host. Penny Ante was officially retired in April 2007, but had not been played for four and a half years prior. The aforementioned Poker Game, along with Joker, were also played for the last time under Barker (and after Hit Me had been removed), but were not removed from the rotation and retired until after Drew Carey took over as host.


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